Integrated Projects were introduced to enable statutory authorities in EU Member States to implement environmental and climate legislation to the fullest extent. The 10 projects selected in 2016 have a total budget of € 183.9 million, including € 98.2 million of EU co-financing. In addition, they could leverage and coordinate around €2 billion in complementary funding from EU agricultural and regional funds, as well as national and private funds. The money will support projects in Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Spain (with additional actions in Portugal) and Sweden.
There are eight projects under the LIFE sub-programme for Environment (five nature, two water and one waste/circular economy). With a total budget of € 154.1 million, including € 80.2 million of EU co-financing, these projects also plan to make use of some € 732 million of complementary funding.
FRANCE (1 project – total budget €34.2 million)
LIFE-IP SMART WASTE PACA (Region PACA): Households in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France produce a lot more waste than the national average. Around 400 kg of domestic waste per inhabitant ends up being burned or in landfill. By supporting innovation in waste prevention and management and fostering expertise and skills, this project will lead to around 30% more organic waste being collected. As well as significantly reducing the amount of landfilled household waste it will support the development of the circular economy in the region.
MALTA (1 project – total budget €17 million)
LIFE-IP RBMP-MALTA (Energy and Waste Agency): Water scarcity, low rainfall and high population density provide major challenges to sustainably manage Malta's freshwater resources. This project will optimise the use of precious water and build the capacity of Maltese institutions to implement the country's river basin management plan. The integrated approach will also involve water audits, investment in water treatment and greater reuse of water. Increasing islanders’ awareness of the need to use water better is expected to lead to a reduction in domestic water use and an increase in available groundwater.
SPAIN (1 project – €12.5 million)
LIFE-IP RBMP-DUERO (Confederación Hidrográfica del Duero): The Duero/Duoro river basin runs between Spain and Portugal and is a climate change hotspot. As an indicator of future changes across Europe, the river basin can be a test lab for adaptation in the management of water resources. This project will enable better governance of water resources and greater public participation in water management. Other actions will involve the development of natural ways of retaining water and tools to put a value on services provided by watersheds, such as flood prevention. The project will also create synergies between water policy and agricultural and other policies in support of its goal of implementing a river basin management plan.
DENMARK (1 project – total budget €17.4 million)
LIFE IP NATUREMAN (Danish Nature Agency): As a result of intensive farming practices, natural areas in the Danish countryside are small, disconnected and dispersed among cultivated farmland. This project aims to reverse that trend by creating and testing incentives for farmers to manage their land in a more environmentally-friendly way. The goal is to make it financially attractive for farms to graze or harvest biomass from natural areas through the development of high-value specialty products, sold at a premium of at least 25%. This initiative is also expected to improve the condition of protected fens, springs and grasslands and provide a template for the widespread implementation of a more holistic approach to nature and water management.
FRANCE (1 project – total budget €22.3 million)
LIFE IP MarHa (French Biodiversity Agency - AFB): The waters around mainland France and Corsica are home to a remarkable diversity of marine habitats, from reefs to coastal lagoons. Many of these are included in the French marine Natura 2000 network of protected areas. However, the network is in its early stages and there is significant scope to improve the condition of habitats, for instance by having a better understanding of the impact of human activities. This wide-ranging project will ensure effective and transparent site management that integrates marine users and activities. By 2025, the project will enable the status of all the marine habitats around mainland France and Corsica to be known. This will contribute to the long-term goal of ensuring that all of those habitats are in good condition ('favourable conservation status') by 2040.
GREECE (1 project – total budget €17 million)
LIFE-IP 4 NATURA (Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy): There are over 600 protected areas for nature in Greece, yet fewer than 2% have a management plan and action plans have been approved for only three of the country's protected species. This wide-ranging project will formulate and implement site management plans and species action plans in four regions. It will also develop innovations such as a comprehensive database of Natura 2000 network sites and a tool to help users visualise ecosystem services. This will improve the capacity of competent authorities to effectively conserve Greek nature. The project will also help mobilise complementary funding to draft a five-year plan of action for the entire network of protected areas in Greece.
LITHUANIA (1 project – total budget €17 million)
LIFE-IP PAF-NATURALIT (Environmental Projects Management Agency, Lithuanian Ministry of Environment): Nature conservation has developed rapidly in Lithuania since EU membership in 2004; however, significant threats to habitats, species and biodiversity remain. Lithuania has drawn up a framework of priority actions that can be integrated into relevant EU funding streams. This project will help implement that framework throughout the country. It will use a common approach to improve the efficiency of management, surveillance and analysis processes and integrate nature conservation into the forestry, agriculture and tourism sectors. The benefits of an ecosystem-based approach to conservation will be shown at selected sites, representing different geographical and natural conditions.
SWEDEN (1 project – total budget €16.7 million)
GRIP on LIFE IP (Swedish Forest Agency): Sweden's watercourses and wetlands are important for nature and provide a range of ecosystem services, including carbon storage, improved water quality and flood control. To improve the condition of habitats and help those services work to their full potential, this project will foster greater communication and cooperation between different stakeholders. It will also make more coordinated use of available funds. Working on a landscape scale, rather than just focusing on the conservation of individual sites, will ensure that priority actions for nature conservation are carried out effectively. By demonstrating the success of this approach with one type of habitat, the project will serve as a model for the wider implementation of the country's priority actions for nature conservation.
BELGIUM (1 project – €14.3 million)
LIFE IP CA 16 BE-REEL! (Flemish Energy Agency - VEA): Belgian homes use 70% more energy than the European average, mainly because much of the housing stock is old. By supporting regional cooperation between Flanders and Wallonia, this project will help to implement renovation and retrofitting policies that vastly improve energy efficiency. Measures will include capacity building and training for administrators and stakeholders, guidelines for the construction sector, innovative techniques and new financial instruments. More than 8 500 homes in Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen, Mouscron and La Louvière will be fully renovated, giving a practical demonstration of the energy efficiency strategies. This project will put Belgium on the path to renovating all existing housing and achieving a 75-80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and energy use by 2050.
SPAIN (1 project – €15.6 million)
LIFE-IP Nadapta-CC (Government of Navarre): Navarre is typical of many regions in Spain, in that it has adopted a climate change adaptation strategy but has not been able to implement that strategy. By breaking down divisions between sectors and involving key stakeholders, this project is an opportunity to overcome barriers to implementation and serve as a model for other regions in a similar position. Actions will include a new task force and indicators for climate monitoring, early warning systems for river floods and emergencies involving wastewater treatment. Other measures include adaptive management of water, forestry, agriculture, health, infrastructure and territorial planning. Mobilising more than €370 million of complementary funding will enable the full implementation of Navarre's 2030 climate change adaptation goals.